The potential for enhancement of fish production from inland waters has been considered a priority area of activity by the Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service of FAO for some time. A number of steps have been taken to build a solid foundation from which to provide advice to Members and to the FAO Field Programme. For example, R. Welcomme catalogued intro-ductions and an updated and expanded version soon will be placed on the FAO Fisheries Home Page, appropriate management strategies have been evaluated by FAO Andre Mayer Fellow Dr

through field projects of which the FAO Belgian Trust Fund Project on the management and utilization of small water bodies is noteworthy for the inventory and characterization of opportunities and for the integration of information for enhancements with other kinds of development activities. Enhancement projects in Bangladesh (e.g., DFID, IFAD/DANIDA) continue to provide very useful information on performance while exploring the limits of technical, administrative, economic, and social arrangements for implementation.The outcome of the Japan/FAO International Conference on the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food

Recognizing the increasing significance of the enhancement of fisheries for its member countries, and in order to promote better understanding of how the various technical, socio-economic and cultural factors involved in implementing inland fisheries enhancement programmes must fit together to achieve success, the Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service of FAO, in close collaboration with the Department for International

Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, organized an Expert Consultation on Inland Fisheries Enhancements (ECIFE) that was hosted by the Government of Bangladesh.

The Expert Consultation, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 7-11 April 1997, was attended by 42 participants from 13 countries and representatives at the technical level of international organizations and projects including DFID, GTZ, GOPA (Gesellschaft für Organisation, Planung und Ausbildung), FAO, ICLARM, IFAD/DANIDA and the World Bank.

The FAO contributed by providing the technical secretariat for the planning and organization of the meeting and sponsoring experts. The agenda of the meeting was jointly planned with the DFID. The DFID sponsored the attendance of some participants, provided the local organization and covered the local costs for participants not associated withnternational organizations. Both organizations closely collaborated in the preparation of the report.

The FAO/DFID Expert

Consultation on Inland Fishery Enhancements:

Conclusions, follow up and related work underway

James McDaid Kapetsky1 and B. Born2

1 Senior Fishery Resources Officer, Fishery Resources Division

2 Associate Professional Officer, Fishery Resources Division



V. Sugunan and FAO consultant D. Edwards has analyzed ways being used to increase benefits from inland fisheries in nine Asian countries. Recently, R. Welcomme and D. Bartley evaluated present techniques for the enhancement of fisheries.

At the same time, experience on the implementation of enhancements has been built up to varying degrees in different parts of the world


Security, Kyoto, Japan, December 19953, has given further impetus to enhancements. The Kyoto Declaration recognized four specific avenues for the enhancement of fisheries, i.e. stocking and restocking, assisting fishers to organize themselves, promoting community manage-ment schemes, and establishing user rights in open access. The Kyoto Action Plan also calls for the rapid transfer of know how in enhancement.



The conclusions of the ECIFE have been condensed to outline form and are set out in the adjoining text box.

Report and Supplement. The official report of the ECIFE is in press and will be available on request. Editing of the presented papers by FAO retiree Dr. Tomi Petr is nearly complete. The papers will be produced as a separate bound supplement to the report by the DFID and the distribution, towards the end of October, will be by FAO.


Inventory and Characterization of Enhancements. The ECIFE addressed an important need for the further implementation of inland fishery enhancements: it placed them in a world perspective qualitatively, within technological, social, economic and administrative contexts, and it raised many issues that need to be addressed. The provision of both quantitative and geographic frameworks of experience on inland fishery enhancements would be a logical follow-up. Therefore, in anticipation of the outcome of the ECIFE and with the recent arrival of Bram Born, FAO Associate Professional Officer, an inventory and characterization of inland fishery enhancements commenced. The objective is to describe enhancements by type, by kind of water body in which they are implemented, by target species and by location and country. This is an essential step in an eventual global evaluation of benefits, impacts and prospects for inland fishery enhancements.

Inventory and Characterization of Inland Water Bodies. In general three kinds of models are required for evaluation and planning of inland fisheries. One is needed to predict fisheries potential under natural conditions. Another is needed to predict fishery potential under various kinds of enhancements to compare the benefits with those from unenhanced fisheries. The third is required to predict losses of potential yield due to general environmental degra-dation so that mitigation or rehabilitation is properly scaled and financed.

These models are needed for all kinds of water bodies, and they need to be applied to individual waters, or groups, within drainage basins and within and among national jurisdictions.

In order to put this modeling capability

to work, there are two essentials:

  • Inland water bodies have to be inventoried and characterized with respect to factors that affect fishery potential

  • Existing models have to be improved to more synoptically and more accurately predict inland fishery potential.

Work is underway in the Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service in cooperation with the FAO GIS Centre to adapt the Global Land Cover Characteristics Data Base for the inventory. The Marine Resources AdvisoryGroup at Imperial College, London is undertaking an expansion of its earlier water body characterization on contract to FAO. The modeling improvement effort will follow.


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Cover page of an extension booket on maintenance of ox-bow lakes for fisheries produced by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee and DANIDA Technical Assistance


Environmental Impacts of Enhancements. A related current activity, one that is being addressed with some urgency as called for by the ECIFE, is the environmental assessment of impacts of inland fishery enhancements. In short, there is a need for a better understanding of the environmental impacts of inland fishery enhancements, the status of environmental assessments of inland fishery enhancements and the mitigating or rehabilitative activities that have been carried out subsequent to their implementation. A synthesis of the global literature is being carried out as a first step. Further steps could include a practical set of guidelines to assess the impacts of enhancements and to gauge the need for environmental assessments.

Looking longer term at enhance-ments and the special kinds of impacts associated with them, Dr. Paul Siri and a number of collaborating scientists from various academic institutions are proposing a colloquium to examine issues related to inland and coastal fishery enhancements. Topics under-pinning sustainability and conservation of genetic resources together with environmental risk assessment modeling will be organized thematically to address concerns regarding the implementation of enhancement projects. The proposal for this meeting is a direct outcome of the ECIFE, the conclusions resulting from it, and the follow-up analysis at FAO conducted through the Partnership Programmes.

This meeting would bring together scientists with the ecological perspective of the effects of introductions and stocking on the environment and scientists familiar with the current status of

enhancement potential and its role in attempts to address sustainable food security. The meeting would be finalized in two important ways that would further the goals of the Expert Consultation. First, a series of papers would be submitted for publication in a peer reviewed scientific journal. Second, the meeting would end with a facilitated dialogue culminating in points of certainty and uncertainty so that a group consensus statement can be attained. Both of these products would create a benchmark for strategic planning and scientific validation. These measures would be consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and the recommendations coming forth from enhancement sponsors and donor organizations.

FAO participation is under discussion and will be formalized in due course.

Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. Finally, the conclusions of the ECIFE are important and timely input for the inland fisheries portion of the Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries that is now being drafted by Robin Welcomme as a companion to the Technical Guidelines for Responsible Aquaculture that have been recently published by FAO.

3 The Kyoto Declaration and Plan of Action. International Conference on Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security, Kyoto, Japan, 4-9 December 1995. Organised by the Government of Japan in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Published by Fisheries Agency, The Government of Japan. 22p.


(condensed from the draft report of the ECIFE by Paul Siri)

1. Enhancement of fisheries resources is likely to be accompanied by change.

2. Significant production increases via enhancements are possible with associated benefits but resource limitations and institutional constraints are likely to moderate the pace of enhancements.

3. Proper resource management of the fishery and the ecosystem, often through the use of traditional systems, is necessary for maintaining resource equilibrium which is necessary for long-term sustainability.

Governments need to recognise both traditional and non-traditional management approaches prior to the

formulation of new fishery laws and regulations.

4. Institutional constraints may be equal to or greater than technical limitations.


1. Since enhancements can substantially alter the environmental, institutional and economic attributes of the system, approaches to enhan-cements should be led by principles of participation by all stakeholders integrating technical, institutional, social and economic analysis.

2. Intervention should be carried out following a process framework including examining options and alternatives to


enhancements. Expected benefits and costs along with uncertainties surrounding these should be evaluated using interdisciplinary methods of analysis.

3. Outcomes of intervention should be monitored with feedback for an adaptive management approach to improve policies and procedures.


1. Presently, few countries are in a position to conduct significant stock enhancement without subsidies due to limitations in the availability of cost-effective mass production of young fish.

2. Under many conditions yield can be positively correlated with density and area of water body to be stocked. Additionally, data show that rates of return can be economically viable.

3. Generalised productivity models must be used conservatively due to the variability in aquatic systems. To be effective such models need to be site-specific and the data must be empirically derived.


1. Strategic planning requires three types of predictive models:

• Fisheries potential under natural conditions.

• Potential enhancement benefits compared to no enhancement.

• Losses of potential yield due to habitat degradation.

2. Stock enhancement modelling has four primary applications:

• Understanding processes regu-lating potential yield from water bodies;

• Determining relationships between fish yield and indicators of stocking input;

• Providing information for optimizing stocking programme success;

• Minimizing potential adverse impacts.

3. Modeling is a tool in formulating technical components of enhancements but must be used in conjunction with the evaluation of cultural and social issues when assessing implementation risks and benefits.

4. Risk assessment models may contribute to the planning process and reduce the chances of programme failure.

5. Cage culture represents an aspect of an enhancement trend towards increasing intensification and needs to be examined as an option oriented towards high value market products which may pose a competitive disadvantage in food economies geared towards poorer segments of human populations. Cage culture is an appropriate enhancement option for a number of water bodies and has additional potential in seed production.

Information and Monitoring

1. Globally, inadequate information is a constraint. Nationally aggregated poor quality data coupled with poor coverage and a lack of information at local levels (to support enhancements) are parts of the problem.

2. Another problem is a lack of comparability and compatibility

among data sets and clear definitions of fisheries activities creating difficulty in separating aquaculture data from inland capture fisheries.

3. Social and economic data, in addition to fisheries data, are necessary to support enhancements.

4. Resource limitations underpin many of the reporting problems in developing areas. Governments and NGOs should strive to simplify the data collection and reporting process.

5. Longer term monitoring is critical so that the results of an intervention can be properly analyzed thereby contributing to the process framework on which to base future decisions.

6. Geographical Information Sys-tems ( GIS ) are a powerful decision support tool that can contribute significantly to the process framework.


1. Enhancement measures may lead to changes in ecosystem structure and processes and impacts may not be limited to a given water body but may extend throughout the watershed and into transboundary waters.

2. Enhancement activities may also change the disease status of aquatic organisms in ecosystems. Fish health/aquatic system impacts need careful attention particularly in respect to the introduction of exotic species/strains and should be implemented according to internationally recognized codes of practice.


A contingency/mitigation plan for ecologically significant disease events should be considered before enhan-cements are initiated.

3. There is an important distinction between perceived and actual problems when examining environmental conditions. Enhancement project impacts are often difficult to assess due to an incomplete understanding of aquatic systems.

4. Careful documentation of im-pacts and mitigating measures is urgently needed. There is a clear need to provide environmental assessments on all fishery enhancement activities, including aqua-culture, which identify potential impacts and mechanisms for mitigation.

Genetic resource issues

1. The genetic and species diversity in wild populations should be conserved, protected, and utilized in inland fishery enhancement and development.

2. Where appropriate, genetic techniques should be used for monitoring dispersal of released fish and to probe for introgression with wild populations.

3. Recommendations and gui-delines on genetic resource management and utilization should be implemented but it is recognized that in many cases it will be difficult due to inadequate resources or incomplete information.

4. It may be desirable to establish nucleus breeding centers actively managed and supported by government or industry.

5. Efforts should be made to disseminate information and educate managers and stakeholders as to the principles and benefits of genetic resource management.



1. Social, economic, and institutional aspects of societies may contribute as much to the success of enhancements as physical and biological factors.

2. Enhancements can increase the economic surplus resulting from an efficiently operated intervention; however the principal objective of an enhancement should be the maximization of societal benefits.

3. The assignment of property rights and limitations of access are preconditions for sustainable enhancement of aquatic resources.

4. NGOs can play an important part in enhancements in promoting and safeguarding equitable distribution of the resulting benefits and they can have an important catalytic role in the transition from government ownership to community-based or private management. 5. The move towards community-based or private management of fisheries usually requires extended time scales since participatory approaches are implicit and take longer to implement.


1. Enhancements require a ba-lance between fish production and the conservation of the environment and this will usually occur in situations where knowledge is inadequate, uncertainty exists and with limited resources. Enhancements should be preceded by planning and risk assessment.

2. Risk assessment should be involve ecological, genetic, and socio- economic factors.

3. Elements of the precautionary approach that may be applied to potential enhancement projects include:

i) identification of the potential adverse impacts;

ii) establishment of targets for the enhancement project (i.e. goals) and limits to adverse impacts caused by the enhancement; and

iii) establishment of contingency plans once limits are approached so that an agreed upon plan of action can be established in the event adverse impacts become unacceptable, although it should be recognized that many impacts may be irreversible.

4. Efforts to balance fisheries enhancement with the interests of other users of the water body and conservation goals require an integrated aquatic resource strategy to minimize conflict and risk.